Skip to Content

Notice

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview Information; Technology and Media Services for Individuals With Disabilities-Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children With Disabilities Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.327A.

Note:

This notice includes one absolute priority with two phases, and funding information for each phase of the competition.

Dates:

Applications Available: February 2, 2010.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: See the chart in the Award Information section of this notice (Chart).

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: See Chart.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program are to: (1) Improve results for children with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational media services activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom setting to children with disabilities; and (3) provide support for captioning and video description that are appropriate for use in the classroom setting.

Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), this priority is from allowable activities specified in the statute, or otherwise authorized in the statute (see sections 674 and 681(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2010 and any subsequent year in which we make awards based on the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is:

Technology and Media Services for Individuals With Disabilities—Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children With Disabilities

Background

The Department has made Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children with Start Printed Page 5292Disabilities awards for several years under the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program. Awards are made in two phases: (1) Development and (2) research on effectiveness. Abstracts of projects funded under these two phases can be found at http://publicddb.tadnet.org/​.

Priority

The Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children with Disabilities absolute priority requires grantees to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative technology approaches designed to improve results for children with disabilities. Phase 1 projects must develop, refine, and test the feasibility of specific technology-based approaches. Phase 2 projects must subject technology-based approaches to rigorous field-based research to determine their effectiveness.

To be considered for funding under the Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children with Disabilities absolute priority, applicants must meet the application requirements contained in the priority. All projects funded under the absolute priority also must meet the programmatic and administrative requirements specified in the priority. The application, programmatic, and administrative requirements are as follows:

(a) In the application, an applicant must—

(1) Describe a technology-based approach for improving the results of (a) early intervention programs, (b) response-to-intervention (RTI) assessment techniques, or (c) preschool, elementary school, middle school, or high school educational programs for children with disabilities. The technology-based approach must be an innovative combination of new technology and additional materials and methodologies that enable the technology to improve early intervention programs, RTI assessment techniques, or educational results for children with disabilities;

(2) Present a justification, based on scientifically rigorous research or theory, that supports the potential effectiveness of the technology-based approach described pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this priority for improving results for children with disabilities. The approach must have the potential to improve child outcomes, not just parent or provider outcomes. Child outcomes may include improved academic or pre-academic skills, improved behavioral or social functioning, and improved functional performance, provided that valid and reliable measurement instruments are employed to assess the outcomes. Technology-based approaches intended for use by providers or parents may not be funded under this priority unless child-level benefits are clearly demonstrated. Technology-based approaches for professional development will not be funded under this priority;

(3) Provide a detailed plan for conducting work in one of the following two phases:

(i) Phase 1—Development: Projects funded under Phase 1 must develop and refine a technology-based approach, and test its feasibility for use with children with disabilities. Activities under Phase 1 of the priority may include development, adaptation, and refinement of technology, materials, or methodologies. Activities under Phase 1 of the priority must include a formative evaluation of the technology-based approach's usability and feasibility for use with children with disabilities. Each project funded under Phase 1 must be designed to develop, as its primary product, a promising technology-based approach that is suitable for field-based evaluation of its effectiveness in improving results for children with disabilities.

(ii) Phase 2—Research on Effectiveness: Projects funded under Phase 2 must select a promising technology-based approach that has been developed and tested in a manner consistent with the criteria for activities funded under Phase 1, and subject the approach to rigorous field-based research to determine its effectiveness in educational or early intervention settings. Approaches studied under Phase 2 may have been developed with previous funding under Phase 1 of this priority or with funding from other sources. Phase 2 of this priority is primarily intended to produce sound research-based evidence demonstrating that the technology-based approach can improve educational or early intervention results for children with disabilities in a defined range of real world contexts.

Projects funded under Phase 2 of this priority must conduct research that poses a causal question and must seek to answer that question through randomized assignment to treatment and comparison conditions, unless a strong justification is made for why a randomized trial is not possible. If a randomized trial is not possible, the applicant must employ alternatives that substantially minimize selection bias or allow the selection bias to be modeled. These alternatives include appropriately structured regression-discontinuity designs and natural experiments in which naturally occurring circumstances or institutions (perhaps unintentionally) divide people into treatment and comparison groups in a manner akin to purposeful random assignment. In their applications, applicants proposing to use an alternative system must (1) make a compelling case that randomization is not possible, and (2) describe in detail how the procedures will result in substantially minimizing the effects of selection bias on estimates of effect size. Choice of randomizing unit or units (e.g., students, classrooms, schools) must be grounded in a theoretical framework. Observational, survey, or qualitative methodologies may complement experimental methodologies to assist in the identification of factors that may explain the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the technology-based approach being evaluated. Applicants must propose research designs that permit the identification and assessment of factors that may have an impact on the fidelity of implementation. Mediating and moderating variables that are both measured in the practice or model condition and are likely to affect outcomes in the comparison condition must be measured in the comparison condition (e.g., student time-on-task, teacher experience, or time in position).

Projects funded under Phase 2 of this priority must conduct comprehensive research in order to provide convincing evidence of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the technology-based approach under study, at least within a defined range of settings. Applicants must provide documentation that available sample sizes, methodologies, and treatment effects are likely to result in conclusive findings regarding the effectiveness of the technology-based approach;

(4) Provide a plan for forming collaborative relationships with vendors, other dissemination or marketing resources, or both to ensure that the technology-based approach can be made widely available if sufficient evidence of effectiveness is obtained. Applicants should document the availability and willingness of dissemination or marketing resources to participate. Applicants are encouraged to plan these collaborative relationships early in their projects, even in Phase 1 (if applicable), but should refrain from widespread dissemination of the technology-based approach to practitioners until evidence of its effectiveness is obtained in Phase 2; and

(5) Budget for the project director to attend an annual three-day Project Start Printed Page 5293Directors' meeting in Washington, DC, and another annual two-day trip to Washington, DC to collaborate with the Federal project officer and the other projects funded under this priority to share information, and to discuss findings and methods of dissemination.

(b) The project also must conduct the following activities:

(1) If the project maintains a Web site, include relevant information and documents in a format that meets a government or industry-recognized standard for accessibility.

(2) If the project produces instructional materials for dissemination, produce them in accessible formats (e.g., with captioning, with video description, or complying with the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS), as appropriate).

Within this absolute priority, we are particularly interested in applications that address the following invitational priorities.

Invitational Priorities: Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets one of these invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

These priorities are:

(1) Projects led by a project director or principal investigator who is in the initial phase of his or her career. For purpose of this invitational priority, the initial phase of an individual's career is considered to be the first three years after the individual completes and graduates from a doctoral program (i.e., for FY 2010 awards, projects may support individuals who completed and graduated from a doctoral program no earlier than the 2006-2007 academic year).

(2) Projects focusing on technology-based approaches for children with disabilities, ages birth to age three.

(3) Projects focusing on technology-based approaches to response-to-intervention assessment techniques.

(4) Projects focusing on technology-based approaches for instruction in science, mathematics, or both for children with disabilities.

Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities and requirements. Section 681(d) of IDEA, however, makes the public comment requirements of the APA inapplicable to the priority in this notice.

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1474 and 1481.

Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99.

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education (IHEs) only.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $2,400,000. Please refer to the “Estimated Range of Awards” column in the Chart for the estimated dollar amounts for the two phases of this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: See Chart.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: See Chart.

Maximum Award: Phase 1: $200,000, per year and Phase 2: $300,000, per year. We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding the maximum award for a single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

Estimated Number of Awards: See Chart.

Project Period: Projects funded under Phase 1 will be funded for up to 24 months. Projects funded under Phase 2 will be funded for up to 36 months. We will reject any application that proposes a project period exceeding 24 months for Phase 1 or 36 months for Phase 2.

Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children With Disabilities Application Notice for Fiscal Year 2010

CFDA number and nameDeadline for transmittal of applicationsDeadline for intergovernmental reviewEstimated available fundsEstimated range of awardsEstimated average size of awardsEstimated number of awards
84.327A—Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children with Disabilities:
Phase 1—DevelopmentMarch 19, 2010May 18, 2010$1,200,000$100,000-$200,000$200,0006
Phase 2—Research on EffectivenessMarch 19, 2010May 18, 20101,200,000200,000-300,000300,0004

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: State educational agencies (SEAs); local educational agencies (LEAs); public charter schools that are LEAs under State law; IHEs; other public agencies; private nonprofit organizations; outlying areas; freely associated States; Indian tribes or tribal organizations; and for-profit organizations.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost sharing or matching.

3. Other: General Requirements—(a) The projects funded under this competition must make positive efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).

(b) Applicants and grant recipients funded under this competition must involve individuals with disabilities or parents of individuals with disabilities ages birth through 26 in planning, implementing, and evaluating the projects (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of IDEA).

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: http://www.EDPubs.gov or at its e-mail address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this Start Printed Page 5294competition as follows: CFDA number 84.327A.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the person or team listed under Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to the equivalent of no more than 50 pages using the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ × 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

The page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, the references, or the letters of support. However, you must include all of the application narrative in Part III.

We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit; or if you apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: February 2, 2010.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: See Chart.

Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically using the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application) accessible through the Department's e-Grants site, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery, please refer to section IV. 6. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: See Chart.

4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition.

5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

6. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

If you choose to submit your application to us electronically, you must use e-Application, accessible through the Department's e-Grants Web site at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

While completing your electronic application, you will be entering data online that will be saved into a database. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

Please note the following:

  • Your participation in e-Application is voluntary.
  • You must complete the electronic submission of your grant application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. E-Application will not accept an application for this competition after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process.
  • The hours of operation of the e-Grants Web site are 6:00 a.m. Monday until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday; and 6:00 a.m. Thursday until 8:00 p.m. Sunday, Washington, DC time. Please note that, because of maintenance, the system is unavailable between 8:00 p.m. on Sundays and 6:00 a.m. on Mondays, and between 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and 6:00 a.m. on Thursdays, Washington, DC time. Any modifications to these hours are posted on the e-Grants Web site.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit your application in paper format.
  • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications. You must attach any narrative sections of your application as files in a .DOC (document), .RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format. If you upload a file type other than the three file types specified in this paragraph or submit a password protected file, we will not review that material.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • Prior to submitting your electronic application, you may wish to print a copy of it for your records.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgment that will include a PR/Award number (an identifying number unique to your application).
  • Within three working days after submitting your electronic application, fax a signed copy of the SF 424 to the Application Control Center after following these steps:

(1) Print SF 424 from e-Application.

(2) The applicant's Authorizing Representative must sign this form.

(3) Place the PR/Award number in the upper right hand corner of the hard-copy signature page of the SF 424.

(4) Fax the signed SF 424 to the Application Control Center at (202) 245-6272.

  • We may request that you provide us original signatures on other forms at a later date.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of System Unavailability: If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because e-Application is unavailable, we will grant you an extension of one business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery. We will grant this extension if—

(1) You are a registered user of e-Application and you have initiated an Start Printed Page 5295electronic application for this competition; and

(2) (a) E-Application is unavailable for 60 minutes or more between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date; or

(b) E-Application is unavailable for any period of time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

We must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting you an extension. To request this extension or to confirm our acknowledgment of any system unavailability, you may contact either (1) the person listed elsewhere in this notice under For Further Information Contact (see VII. Agency Contact) or (2) the e-Grants help desk at 1-888-336-8930. If e-Application is unavailable due to technical problems with the system and, therefore, the application deadline is extended, an e-mail will be sent to all registered users who have initiated an e-Application.

Extensions referred to in this section apply only to the unavailability of e-Application. If e-Application is available, and, for any reason, you are unable to submit your application electronically or you do not receive an automatic acknowledgment of your submission, you may submit your application in paper format by mail or hand delivery in accordance with the instructions in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.327A), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A private metered postmark.

(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.

Note:

The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.

If you submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.327A), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—

(1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this grant notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.

2. Review and Selection Process: In the past, the Department has had difficulty finding peer reviewers for certain competitions, because so many individuals who are eligible to serve as peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The Standing Panel requirements under IDEA also have placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department has determined that, for some discretionary grant competitions, applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and selected for funding within specific groups. This procedure will make it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers, by ensuring that greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to serve as reviewers for any particular group of applicants will not have conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, and fairness of the review process, while permitting panel members to review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which they also have submitted applications. However, if the Department decides to select an equal number of applications in each group for funding, this may result in different cut-off points for fundable applications in each group.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may notify you informally, also.

If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

3. Reporting: At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to http://www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​appforms/​appforms.html.

4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department has established a set of performance measures, including long-term measures, that are designed to yield information on various aspects of the effectiveness and quality of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program. These measures focus on the extent to which projects are of high quality, are relevant to improving outcomes of Start Printed Page 5296children with disabilities, and contribute to improving outcomes for children with disabilities. We will collect data on these measures from the projects funded under this competition.

Grantees also will be required to report information on their projects' performance in annual reports to the Department (34 CFR 75.590).

VII. Agency Contact

For Further Information Contact: Terry Jackson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4081, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-6039.

If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​news/​fedregister. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site.

Note:

The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/​nara/​index.html.

Start Signature

Dated: January 28, 2010.

Alexa Posny,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2010-2182 Filed 2-1-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P